Darrell Wallace Jr. doesn’t want to be ‘Debbie Downer’ with uncertainty of near future
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Darrell Wallace Jr.'s racing future is cloudy with a one percent chance of rain. But he won’t let that dampen anyone else’s day.
Wallace was in good spirits Wednesday during the NASCAR Media Tour despite having sponsorship secured for only the season’s first six Xfinity Series races and a “99 percent chance” Roush Fenway Racing will secure more.
“Who likes a Debbie Downer person?” Wallace said before lowering his voice to a monotone pitch.
“I could be up here like this the whole time waiting to get out of here, but that’s boring,” Wallace said. “I want to make you guys laugh and see the smiles on faces – get those chuckles whether they’re laughing at me or with me, I don’t care you’re laughing, so job well done by me. It’s just having fun. It’s all about having fun no matter what you do.”
If anything could get Wallace down, it’s being in the “little tight spot” of not knowing exactly how much racing he’ll have on his calendar 31 days before the season opener at Daytona. Wallace and his No. 6 Ford will be backed in the first six races by Leidos, a military defense company. Leidos sponsored Wallace in the final six races of last season.
“Yeah, it’s not set in stone that it’s a full season, but that doesn’t change my outlook or my attitude or anything,” said the five-time winner in the Camping World Truck Series. “I’m still the same old guy that walks around trying to put a smile on everybody’s face, and go out there and deliver out on the race track. We’ll go to Daytona, give it our best effort.”
The No. 6 team’s best effort the last two seasons hasn’t been able to produce many results the 23-year-old Alabama native can smile at.
In 66 Xfinity starts over the last two years, Wallace has finished in the top five three times each season. Last season, his last top five came at Kentucky, the 16th race of campaign. His best finish in 72 career Xfinity starts was second in last spring’s Dover race. He ended his sophomore campaign 11th in the points after failing to advance out of the first round of the playoffs. Of his three DNFs, two came in the final four races.
When it comes to securing his future in NASCAR with one of the most successful teams in the sport’s history, Wallace is taking a hands-on approach.
“I’ve been making a couple more phone calls to see what we can do to be on the forefront of this, which we are at the forefront of it,” Wallace said. “We’re really close to finishing the deal. I have a great team at Roush Fenway and a great team behind me to get that process done, but I’m the same old guy.”
Wallace can say this because of how he was raised and the advice he received when times got rough.
“It really goes back to my parents,” Wallace said. “My mom always said, ‘No matter what, give the media everything positive to talk about. Don’t give them anything negative. They’re gonna take it and run with it.’ Not that she’s bashing on you guys, it’s just the truth.”